From the Buchanan County, Iowa History Book Ė 1880
Transcribed by Arlene Goodwin
E. Cobb was born in the State of New York, Greene County, in the town of Windham, June 7, 1823. His father, Simon Cobb, died when he was eighteen years of age. At the age of twenty-one he commenced to do for himself by working by the month, and was thus employed until he was twenty-five years of age, when he went to Illinois, purchased teams and engaged in buying wagons in Chicago, and hauling them out to the lead mines, where he sold and traded them for furs and such other articles as he could make profitable by taking back to Chicago to sell. This he followed about four years, when he came to Iowa, June 13, 1853. He made his first purchase in this county of one hundred and sixty acres, sections four and five Washington township, adjoining the city on the west. At the same time he purchased two acres where his fine residence is now located; had since added to it, making one of the most desirable properties in this city. His first residence was a small shanty, set on blocks, with no fence or other buildings, or even a well. The solitary one story, fourteen by twenty-two shanty, among the hazle brushes and weeds, is the picture of his home when he came to move in.
But within two years after this he had in its place one of the finest residences in the county, with shade and fruit trees. Soon after Mr. Cobb built his house people commenced to insist on stopping with him; he was compelled to enlarge his house, and built a stable for the accommodation of the public. This soon grew to be a good business, and he pursued it in connection with the stock business until the Central railroad went through the city. When the traveling public could be accommodated elsewhere, he cut down his sign and let them pass by. Since that time he has been overseeing his farm, but has turned his attention principally to the stock business. His experience taught him it was more profitable to buy, feed and sell instead of raising the stock. This business he continues still, and very successfully. Ships principally to Chicago, but sells a great many at home. During the years intervening between 1865 and 1878, he frequently had on hand five hundred head; averaging through the summer on the prairies three hundred head, and handling some years as high as eighty thousand dollars worth of cattle and hogs. He at present is not dealing as extensively as in the past on account of the scarcity of cattle and pasturage---Uncle Samís being no longer available. Mr. Cobb owns one of the most valuable farms in the county, situated, as it is, adjacent to the city, and naturally rolling and of fine soil. He owns in timber and cultivated land two hundred and forty acres. When he was twenty-one years of age his only wealth was ninety-four cents, but he now ranks among the wealthy men of the west. Mr. Cobb was married in Cook county, Illinois, in 1852, to Miss Phinanda Butterfield, who was born in Niagara county, New York, in 1825, and died in Independence, February 20, 1872; leaving a family of five children, all sons. The oldest, Franklin, now twenty-five years of age, single, and engaged with his father in the cattle business; Edwin, ,jr., is twenty-two year of age, married, and farms in the vicinity; Albert, eighteen; George, fifteen; Harry eleven. The three youngest children are at home, and attending school.